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by Herb and Erna Buller
“You have a large cancerous tumour in your left eye and the only treatment is to remove your eye.”
I had just been subjected to tests on my left eye and the doctor was giving us his diagnosis. I was stunned and all I could say was, “I think I’m going to barf.” I sat there with the garbage can in my lap as Erna took over the conversation.
The drive home was a blur as I lay in the passenger seat totally shocked. We couldn’t talk--both lost in our own thoughts of impending doom.
A second opinion a few days later confirmed the diagnosis of choroidal melanoma, a tumor at the back of my eye that had to be treated by enucleation, i.e. removal of the eye.
However, we learned that there was another option; radiation, which could not be done in Winnipeg. Within 2 weeks of that black Monday we were in Philadelphia for radiation. The radiation did its work as it slowly fried the tumor. My eye was saved but I lost my vision because, as expected, the procedure damaged my optic nerve.
Before I was discharged from the hospital we had a session with a counsellor. I was again my usual jocular self, but she pulled me up short with the words:
Theodore Roosevelt in a speech in Cambridge, England in 1910 said,
My life has been filled with opportunities. This was the most challenging one of all.
Frankly, I did not initially see this as an opportunity at all but as time went on and particularly now that I have the privilege to look back, it was a great opportunity and it still is.
TRANSPARENCY WITH EMPLOYEES
But Erna and I both knew how serious my cancer was. We also knew if we didn’t share with our people the rumours would be worse than the truth.
At that time we had more than 1000 employees and before we went to Philadelphia for treatment I shared my story. I said to them, “I know that many of you pray and I ask you to pray for me in this time of need.”
Because of my candour people did not avoid me; in fact they kept telling me that they were praying and that members of their extended families were praying as well. What a blessing it was for us and still is. The support was overwhelming; To this day people still ask me how my eye is doing.
Since my diagnosis I have had many meaningful encounters with others who had cancer. One of them was already in the advanced stages of this terrible disease. He contacted me after he heard about my cancer. Interestingly I had tried to touch base with him before I knew about my cancer to encourage and pray with him. He had not responded, but now he came to MY rescue.
Another one asked me, “Herb, how did you feel when you found out that you had cancer?” That began a deep time of sharing.
A third one was diagnosed with melanoma in his eye as well. This was highly unusual because cancer of the eye only affects 6 people out of one million. We were able to talk at a very comfortable level about similar treatments and how we were doing.
Four of my cancer buddies have already died and all were younger than I. By the grace of God I was able to help them along in their spiritual pilgrimage. I am confident that I will meet all of them on the good side of the other side some day in the future.
Furthermore I have a special bond with anyone who has or has had cancer. We are a special group.
What a tremendous opportunity my cancer has given me and I am so grateful that I did see this as an opportunity to help others. The proverb:
“He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed”, is certainly true for me.
Five years ago I was a 42% survivor with my type of cancer. Today Erna and I are celebrating 10 years of being cancer free. I continue to be tested every three months and my results continue to be very good. Praise God.
If you would change the picture of your life, you can. Like Herb, you can decide to follow Jesus Christ and apply Biblical principles to your life and business. You can start today by praying this prayer with a sincere heart.
Is it the desire of your heart to make this prayer yours?
If yes, pray now and according to his promise, Jesus Christ will come into your life.
If you prayed this prayer today, we would love to hear from you and send you some helpful articles that will help you grow in your new relationship with God and/or connect you with a spiritual mentor.